Camping by the Huon River has been fun. It’ll be even more enjoyable tomorrow when Jenni returns to share the fun. Until then this is what I got up to this week.
This is Tasmania, first it was very cold, 3 centigrade overnight, but strangely also very sunny. Then it got very misty and cloudy and a bit warmer. Then it got up to 27 centigrade and then it rained. All in the space of 5 days.
I decided we needed a foam top for the airbed as the air in it got so cold overnight it sucked out what little heat was left in your body. So off to Hobart I drove to buy one from a foam shop on Liverpool Street I found on Google. Coincidentally, Liverpool Street is the same street that the Christmas Parade was on at the same time I arrived.
I parked in the car park of a large hardware store about 500 metres away as I couldn’t get a street parking spot anywhere. I did that trick where jump out of the car and you walk purposefully into the store from the car park so it looks like you’re there to buy something, then you walk out again and go to the shop you really wanted to visit.
As you can clearly see from the picture this was one of the sunny days. The street was packed with families with kids. They were all waving and cheering, lots of the kids were wearing their Santa hats. I had to wait till Santa eventually passed before I could cross the street to the foam shop. I bought the foam and headed back. By the time I got back to the car I was feeling guilty about abusing the car park of the hardware shop so I went into the shop again and bought a sharp craft knife to trim the foam with. As I walked out of the shop I saw the cars in the car park filling up with families with kids wearing Santa hats and driving out without an ounce of guilt.
When I got back to the tent and laid the foam on top of the air bed it fitted perfectly. Didn’t need trimming one bit.
Those who know me know I like a glass of cider. Tasmania has some of the best. I’d already visited Willie Smiths as you may have read from the last blog. There are two more cideries nearby so I took Sunday afternoon off to go visit. By the way cider is fermented like wine, not brewed like beer. Technically it’s a fruit wine. Now you know.
Woodside farm planted some apple trees in 1836. Frank Clarke made cider from them. It has won many awards and deservedly so.
Next stop Pagan Cider
Unlike Willie Smiths or Frank’s Pagan Cider can’t add a date Established in the 1800’s to their logo. So they compete, not on heritage but on innovation and varieties of ciders.
I really like Pagan Apple cider, the Pear is good too but quite sweet. Strawberry is surprisingly nice, but not a fan of any of the others. Pagan ciders are at the premium end of the range. Good for an occasion but not for a regular tipple for me.
I had to pass Willie Smiths on the way back to the camp site so I had to stop and take a picture, and a bathroom break. 3 Cideries in one afternoon.
Franks cidery is in Franklin, named after Lady Franklin who built a church we’ll hear about in a couple of paragraphs time. Franklin is small (population 337) so I explored while I was there.
Like many small villages it was in decline but recently it has had a resurgence as a popular tourist town and has had an influx of interstate ‘Seachangers’ (urban dwellers from large Australian cities such as Sydney looking for a slower pace and place to raise their children) who have revitalised the town. Much of old Franklin remains untouched.
It appeared to me to be centred on river activities and the heritage of the river. The day I was there there was a rowing race.
Simply by walking around I discovered the Franklin Wooden Boat Centre, the only wooden boat building school in Australia.
The nice lady explained that the students build the canoe on the top that you can see in this picture as a project. It only takes six days she said.
Here you can see the main workshop through the windows.
The lady showing me around pointed out the two boats, the one painted green that’s nearly finished and the one in the foreground just being started. She said an 88 year old man came in with both boats and a load of vintage, rare Tasmanian timbers. He was a boat builder / designer and wanted to work on the Green one to get it finished but knew he may not be around long enough to finish the other design he’d made so he donated all the rare timber to this place if they promise to finish it if he croaks it. She said he brought in rare Huon Pine and even rarer King Billy Pine. She was nearly crying when she explained the man had painted the beautiful and rare King Billy pine craft with green paint.
I saw a sign in the workshop saying Irish Boat Building. After the Tazmazia Maze I half expected it to be a joke about building boats out of rock or sponge or something but she assured me its a real thing. I asked if it was a coracle, the only Irish boat I knew. She said it wasn’t coracle building but a currach. I asked why? If a coracle was good enough for Saint Brendan it should be good enough for the students. Of course I didn’t ask that, I only thought about that line about 4 hours after I left the place.
Willie Smith’s reprise
I didn’t go there the last visit but the toilets are some of the nicest I’ve seen.
I didn’t realise it but they also have a distillery on site where they make Apple Brandy
If you remember from the last blog we only took a picture of this fella from behind. He’s much more handsome from the front.
Between Willie Smith’s and the camp site is this Anglican Church.
I’m not in the least bit religious but I do love a good church. This one was really pretty, white wooden with bright yellow doors.
Camping Set Up
This is camp setup one. We use this configuration for warm or mild weather with infrequent rain.
It’s just our tent, nothing else.
Red sky in the morning, Shepherds warning
However, if the weather is forecast to turn nasty we have some add ons we put up. The main one is a large tarp to cover the entire tent to keep off most of the rain. We also used this set up in Woodford last year to provide some shade.
Due to the learnings we have gained on our journey we have modified the configuration. Originally the idea was to try and prevent any rain landing on the tent as there were concerns over it rain worthiness. This was tested and the tent is good at stopping rain on it’s own. So we changed the design to keep most of the rain off the tent and create a shaded, sheltered area out the front. This was where I worked a lot of the time.
I am writing this listening to the rain drumming on the roof outside. The ducks are loving this weather.
We posted platypus pics last blog. Unashamedly, here are a few more. Every night I picked my spot and got there well before dusk to see if I could spot the Platypus. Only one night so far has been unsuccessful.
They rarely come out of the water so this was a bonus.
One night I was lucky the Platypus came very close.
However, that’s enough Platypus excitement for one blog.
Jenni’s back tomorrow, cannot wait. Then who knows what new adventure will unfold.
Till next time.